Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two are better than one.

"Two are better than one, 
because they have a good reward for their labour:
if either of them falls down,
one can help the other up..."
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

My Matt,

What a whirlwind the last few months have been!

The preparations for our move have been so much more draining and exhausting than we had imagined they could be. And, I know I have told you this a hundred times already, but I feel like preparing for this move has made us work together as a team now more than at any other time in our marriage.

You have led and I have supported. You have worked on selling the house, securing a place to stay when we move, purchasing the airline tickets, working on the house projects, calculating costs and planning our budget; while I have worked on sorting everything we own, selling what we don't need, and packing the eight totes we will bring with us.

Two is so much better than one!

I read this verse today and thought of you... Of how you lift me up when I've become weary or discouraged during this process. You remind me of Gospel truths when I am overwhelmed with discouragement over my sin. You do the dishes and make the bed for me when I'm weary. You hold the screaming baby and push me out the door with "orders" for a ten minute walk in the midst of the craziness. You pull out your crazy dance moves or say something to make me laugh when everything is overwhelming. You hold me when I need to cry. You listen when I need to pour out the thoughts that are spinning around in my head that I need to talk to someone about and process.

Thank you for living with me in an understanding way with your listening ears, your gentle words, and your strong hugs. Thank you for showing me humble service like Jesus in the way you serve me. Thank you for lifting me up when I fall down, my Matt.
I am thankful God made us a team.

All my love,
Your Ka

Do Not Grow Weary.

We are moving overseas, and we are coming to the end of our last month in our home. And, recently, I have felt surrounded by chaos- from without and within. My head is almost constantly spinning with a list of to-do's: back up my computer, pay bills, cook dinner, clean up lunch, sort through the girls' clothes, list more items to sell online, vacuum the floor, pick out the multi-colored play dough stuck in the playroom carpet, change the laundry from the washer to the dryer (after running it a second time because I had forgotten to switch it yesterday), text a friend back about a playdate, change the baby's diaper, sit and play pretend "Chick-Fil-A" with my three-year-old, finish packing the totes we are bringing with us on our move - the list seems endless sometimes.

And this past month has been especially wearisome. We had intended for this to be our "rest month" before our move, but deciding last-minute to sell our house instead of renting it created quite a hectic turn of events! And then, when the chaos of the selling process finally waned a bit, sickness decided to join all of us for a bit. So, this past week seems to have been a whirlwind of trying to survive the time stuck at home until the sickness has passed. There is always another dish to wash, always another diaper to change or little hands to help wash, always a meal that needs to be cooked or clean up after, and it seems to have all been enveloped in extra tears and tantrums this week because of the sickness and not being able to get out of the house.

I thought to my self the other day that motherhood (at this stage, at least) seems to consist of wrapping and re-wrapping baby dolls in their swaddles or trying to cook a meal while a little person screams at my feet and vigorously attempts to pull on my clothing. And yesterday, when I finally came down with the cold and desperately wanted to lie down snuggle up in a blanket, and watch a relaxing movie but was instead staring at the kitchen sink about to wash dishes, I thought to myself, "I feel like a servant!" Almost all I do is do things for other people! I wash their clothes, cook for them, clean up after them, wipe their bottoms, scrub the mud off their little feet, wipe their noses, tuck them in, and wake up at 6AM when they cry. In that moment at the sink, I was exasperated and bitter and desperately aching for a break. But then conviction gently pricked my heart and I realized, isn't that what I'm supposed to be? Here I am, my sinful flesh bitter and complaining and fighting against serving others when that is exactly what Jesus has called me to! And truth began to come to my mind...

"Do not grow weary, Kali. Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18). 

Motherhood is a strange thing because it is one of the best things I have ever experienced but also one of the hardest things! Being a mommy has moments that are sweet and precious to my heart, but it also has moments that are tough and very trying. I was just trying to explain to Matt how as a mom, my life is no longer free but is instead dictated by the little ones I am caring for, not just sometimes but all the time. There is no "sick day" or sleeping in or not being "on-call" during the night; it's a 24/7 thing. And I feel like my heart- my sin and my Spirit- are constantly at war with if I will live for myself or serve the littles God has given me to care for. Serving them can come so easily sometimes- I love watching their smiles and hearing their giggles as I push them high in the swings at the park, I love teaching Annie how to flatten play dough into a "cookie," and I love cuddling Clara when she just woke up and is all warm snuggly. But lots of times I have to pray to serve them patiently and lovingly. It's not always natural and easy and enjoyable to serve. But I have been freshly reminded the last few days that this season of my life is the perfect opportunity for me to die to myself. And if I remind myself of Scripture, I can quickly see how rewarding dying to myself will be! Jesus promises that whoever clings to his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus' sake will find it. I feel like I've been trying to hold onto living for myself which leads to much complaining and bitterness and a severe lack of joy. But the solution is to look to the eternal things- look to Jesus, look to what He did for me as the ultimate Servant and what He is preparing for me when I get to be with Him, look at how He is changing me and helping me fight sin, and to not give up. Do not grow weary in doing good. And oh, how much more joyful Jesus' way is! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Our Trip to Israel- Tel Aviv & Hostels

Wednesday, March 1st

We spent today in Tel Aviv! I fly out of Israel at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning, so instead of traveling to the airport in the middle of the night from Jerusalem, we decided to spend today in Tel Aviv so we were close to the airport and could go to the airport from here.

I wrote this post from a communal kitchen and bar in a Hostel (never thought I would say that :) It is a neat experience and is bringing out my inner hippie side. We needed a place to store my luggage for the day while we toured Tel Aviv, and a place with WiFi until midnight so Matt could work and I could write before we left for the airport. For $20/night, this seemed like the perfect place. We used the luggage lockers and stayed in the lounge until we left for the airport.  Artsy, unique, full of people of all ages and ethnicities, extremely crunchy, described as having "good vibes," with the inscribed motto reading "Come as you are"- It is quite the place.

Here are a few pictures from our walk around Tel Aviv...

View from the bus window, on the bus ride to Tel Aviv.
This picture does no justice to the view!

Notice the infant car seat in the passenger seat.
This seems quite common. I'm not sure, but I don't think there are any rules about car seats.

First view of Tel Aviv from the bus. 

A beautiful building at the entrance to Ha-Carmel Market

Ha-Carmel Market

First glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea!

The problem with a mere picture of a sight is that it cannot communicate the scents, sounds and feelings of the place to the observer of the photograph. The salty air, the fresh breeze, the sound of birds-
this place was breathtaking after being in the city.
God is such a good Creator, and His creations are beautiful. 

Looking back at Tel Aviv from the beach. 

Old Jaffa in the distance. 

Looking back at Tel Aviv as we walked along the beach toward Old Jaffa.

The color of the water was crystal clear turquoise.

Walking around in Old Jaffa

A beautiful restaurant overlooking the sea. 

Apparently, today was the day to be married.
We saw about 7 brides and a few teenage girls in formal dresses during our walk around Old Jaffa.
 It was strange the weddings were today, because it is in the middle of the week.
It is a beautiful place for pictures!

The Jaffa Clock Tower.
We ate lunch just beside it. 

We also walked through the Jaffa Flea Market.
There were several stalls selling beautiful rugs!

These animal statues reminded me of Annie & Clara.
They would have loved them! 

This is probably my favorite picture from today.
I love the people of Israel.
This was a portrait of one of the vendors quietly working on a rug. 

These were the scariest dolls I think I have ever seen.
One of them was 1800 NIS. 

We took a different route from Jaffa back to Tel Aviv,
through one of the famous artsy neighborhoods.

I love the plants on the rooftops. 

The display of ice cream in Israel is like nothing I have ever seen before!
Whenever we pass an ice cream shop, we just stop and stare.
Last night, we enjoyed a scoop of Chocolate Flakes on Ben Yehuda St.,
and this afternoon, we choose Belgian chocolate.
The size of the serving cups are extremely small compared to US dessert sizes,
but even with Matt & I sharing the smallest size, we couldn't have eaten more than that.
It is so rich and delicious.
And if anyone ever would have the chance to try some, I would definitely recommend chocolate!

The outside of the ice cream shop. 

Walking back through Tel Aviv.
Some of the buildings were so elegant. 

The display of fruit makes you want to eat all of it :)
So, that was our day in Tel Aviv.
Early in the morning I fly back to the States and get to see my sweet girls!